It is the first day of school in the South Sioux City Community School District. I don’t know if they still do this, but I do remember some teachers asking us what we did during the summer. I wanted to change the question to “Things I learned this summer”
1. I discovered that I appreciate abridge audio books. This would have been anathema to me, when we began our audio book collection CD, but after summer vacation I came to realize how good audio books are. On a single trip to the Black Hills, my wife and I passed on two unabridged Dean Koontz novels and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood because the endless description was putting both my wife and I to sleep. We stopped along the way and bought Stephen King’s The Gingerbread Girl, a short story and were entertained all the way to our destination.
2. Short stories are a joy. I usually go for novels or nonfiction, but King’s The Gingerbread Girl was a short story that reminded me that the short story is the crown of literature, being able to tell a compelling story without having to go back to the beginning of each character’s life.
3. Condensed books are a good way to keep up on new fiction, when you primarily read nonfiction.
4. The vast majority of the movies I enjoy most have strong elements of science fiction, animation and computer graphics. I should have known this, but sometimes you have to draw me a picture.
5. Nora Roberts is a more compelling author than I had ever realized.
OK, so not everything I learned is rocket science, but what do you expect it was summer vacation.